PhD Position (Epigenetics & Nuclear Dynamics/RNA Biology): Mass spectrometry of novel DNA & RNA modifications

The IPP Mainz winter call 2019/2020 is open.

Thinking of doing your PhD in Molecular Biology? The International PhD Programme (IPP) on “Epigenetics, Gene Regulation & Genome Stability” is offering talented, young scientists the chance to work at the cutting edge of research. The IPP has a community of exceptional scientists working on diverse topics. These range from how organisms age or how our DNA is repaired, to how epigenetics regulates cellular identity or neural memory. This means that no matter where your PhD project takes you, there is always someone to go to for advice or collaborations.
As part of the IPP, you will be given advanced training, covering skills needed for both research and industry. Access to our state-of-the-art Core Facilities and their technical expertise ensures that you are supported no matter how challenging or expansive your project becomes. Importantly, as an IPP student, you are offered a fully funded position with financing until the completion of your thesis. To help you integrate and settle in Mainz, IPP students organise and run a lively social programme with activities to suit everyone.
The IPP is coordinated by the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) — a modern research centre located on the bustling campus of Mainz University in Germany. The IPP currently has over 120 energetic students from 30 countries working on innovative research at IMB, Mainz University and its University Medical Centre.
Are you an ambitious, young scientist looking to push back the boundaries of science while interacting with colleagues from multiple disciplines and cultures? Then the IPP is your opportunity to give your scientific career a flying start!

Activities and responsibilities

In the fields of “Epigenetics & Nuclear Dynamics” and “RNA Biology”, the IPP research group of Dr Christof Niehrs offers the following PhD project:

Mass spectrometry of novel DNA & RNA modifications

Modified DNA bases play an important epigenetic role in the regulation of gene expression in development and disease. In mammals there are four different cytidine modifications in genomic DNA known to have an epigenetic function, most prominently 5-hydroxymethylcytosine. There are many more known DNA modifications, whose function remains unknown and awaits characterization, including the cellular enzymes that affect these modifications, which will be the aim of the project.
We utilize highly sensitive mass spectrometry (Triple Quadrupole Mass Spec) and stable isotope metabolic labelling to profile epigenetic and epitranscriptomic changes, including 5mC, 5hmC, 5fC, 5caC, m6A, and others. You will study nucleic acid modifying enzymes to unravel how chemical modifications in DNA, RNA and R-loops regulate pluripotency and differentiation of mammalian embryonic stem cells and embryos. Beyond mass spectrometry analysis, you will knockout candidate genes in mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) by the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technique and analyze the physiological relevance of these genes in pluripotency and during mESC in vitro differentiation as well as by Next generation Sequencing. Given the biological importance of the new DNA modification, the project promises to be ground breaking, opening unexplored fields in epigenetics. This PhD project will be particularly suited for students with background in biochemistry and/or bioorganic analytical methods, particularly mass spectrometry and computational biology.

Qualification profile

  • Master or equivalent
  • Motivation to work at the forefront of science
  • Interactive personality & good command of English
  • 2 letters of reference

We offer

  • The possibility to work on exciting, multidisciplinary projects using state-of-the-art technology in highly motivated research teams
  • To be part of a lively and international community of about 120 IPP students from 30 countries
  • Numerous opportunities for advanced professional training in scientific knowledge, techniques and professional skills
  • Fully funded positions until completion of thesis
Starting date: 1 March 2020 – 1 September 2020
Duration of stipend/salary: 3 years, with the possibility of extension

Deadline for registration (exclusively online via web form): 19 November 2019

Send application to

Please find all relevant information on the application process at: http://imb.de/ipp-reginfos

While applying for the job please refer to jobvector and use the following reference number: JV-C18-CN1

About Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH

Our International PhD Programme on the “Gene Regulation, Epigenetics and DNA Damage Response” gives talented and enthusiastic students the opportunity to undertake PhD research at the cutting edge of modern biology. Our groups cover a broad range of expertise and include leading biochemists, geneticists, cell and developmental biologists who study the molecular mechanisms of embryonic...
More about Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH